500 build, revamp Fountain Square homes

The Indy Star
By Amy Bartner

The random staccato of tapping hammers echoed throughout St. Paul Street in Fountain Square this afternoon as more than 500 volunteers from around the world came to build or renovate 25 houses.

The volunteers were part of the Fuller Center for Housing’s Millard Fuller Legacy Build.

One of those hammers belonged to Indianapolis First Lady Winnie Ballard. Wearing a navy “Peace in the Streets” polo shirt and a taupe tool belt, Ballard planned to spend about four hours volunteering.

“Of course I didn’t know what I was doing,” she said, adding that someone showed her how to correctly hammer a nail. “Once you do four of them, you get the hang of it.”

The most important part of rebuilding a neighborhood is creating a safer place to live, she said.

“When I was a kid, I used to be able to play outside until 10 at night,” she said. “Hopefully they will be able to do that here.”

Builders began at 7:30 a.m. today and will continue through the week until the house dedication ceremony at 3 p.m. Friday.

“It’s an extreme community makeover,” City-County Council member Jeff Cardwell said. “This is an opportunity for the people of Indianapolis to work in an international project without a passport.”

The Fuller Center chose home recipients based on need and who would be able to meet the interest-free mortgage. The center dubbed the renovated houses “greater blessing box homes.” The families pay what they can, but aren’t under a contractual obligation if they’re unable to make a payment. There’s one last requirement: All recipients must take part, at least a little bit, in the build.

“When people have an opportunity to help build and renovate their own homes, they’re more like to keep them nice,” said Linda Fuller, co-founder of the Fuller Center.

The Fuller Center raised $750,000 in donations for the project, but is about $30,000 shy of where they need to be, said David Snell, center president. They’re taking donations both at the site and online at www.fullercenter.org, but Snell said he’s not worried about making that extra $30,000 by the end of the week.

“We’ll get it.” Continue reading>>

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